Adolescent & Family Therapy (Syr)

This program provides family-focused adolescent treatment targeting high-risk youth in the City of Syracuse.  The goals of the project are to reduce drug use among the target population, improve school attendance and engagement, reduce juvenile or criminal justice involvement and increase pro-social engagement and attitudes.

The priority population is high school age youth attending one of several Syracuse City School District alternative school settings.  These settings are home to students who have been suspended from mainstream schools because of behavioral problems, including weapons possession, or who are at very high risk of dropping out of school and are sent to alternative programs that have specialized, often work-oriented programming.  The program can serve youth 13-18 years old, enrolled in the Syracuse City School District, or working toward a GED.

The purpose of the program is to develop and implement an effective, evidence-based intervention that will demonstrate success in reducing or eliminating drug use among a high risk urban, youth population.  The goals of the project are to reduce drug use among the target population, improve school attendance and engagement, reduce juvenile or criminal justice involvement and increase pro-social engagement and attitudes.

Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (ACRA) is the intervention used with youth in the program. It recognizes that drug use is in part triggered by responses to life stressors and helps build skills and identify resources in a young person’s community that provide alternatives to drug use.  Treatment services are embedded in a larger program environment that includes community advocacy and case management support that attend to socio- economic barriers that impede participation, such as transportation barriers, historical disconnect from community resources, including education, that must play a critical role in the lives of youth.

The ACRA therapeutic intervention is generally of a 3-month duration.  The therapist provides 10 individual sessions and two sessions with the adolescent and caregiver together over a 12 to 14 week period.  Each session is 60 minutes.  The therapist is expected to meet with caregivers for 4 face-to-face sessions (two with the caregiver alone and two with the caregiver and adolescent).  It is acceptable to invite other people to attend ACRA sessions when appropriate, such as a boyfriend, girlfriend, or people who play important roles in an adolescent’s life.  ACRA services are delivered in CCA offices and schools.

Therapeutic case management uses the Assertive Continuing Care (ACC) model that delivers services in a supportive, empathetic way designed to overcome youth resistance.  Case managers reinforce the learning gained in ACRA sessions and, as guided by progress in treatment, support the youth and family members in making the changes to support abstinence and pro social activities.  Educational support and advocacy are a focus of case management support to ensure that youth are re-engaging in school, are being given access to appropriate educational resources, and to enlist teachers and other school staff as allies in the network of treatment.  Case managers also support parents in their engagement in the process.

This program is delivered in collaboration with Crouse Chemical Dependency  reatment Services, who is an NYS OASAS licensed provider.  CCDTS’s therapist works out of CCA’s office in Syracuse, NY.

115 E. Jefferson St., Suite 300
Syracuse, NY  13202
315-422-5638

Services are funded by the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services/Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

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